This is one of those books that I wanted to read with the kids, but they weren't very interested. Robotson has the most experience with my reading out loud so he actually picked up most of the story even while playing with his iPod. I throughly enjoyed it though. In fact, I very much hope that as the girls outgrow Santa, we can begin a tradition of celebrating the winter solstice with a focus on more than ourselves and gifts under a tree. For a while now I've nudged us in the direction of doing more together or for others as opposed to getting or giving things. As everyone knows though, this isn't an easy transition. I loved the ideas from the book, like buying a live tree to decorate instead of killing one by cutting it down. I also loved the little phrases they hung on tree about the things that they believe. Most of all, I liked how Jenny put a jar under the tree to collect money for a cause instead of gifts. I am all for giving gifts, but it's a truly beautiful idea to think beyond yourself. When she has her friends over to see her tree, they are going to notice what is important to Jenny and her family. It could lead to great discussions and open up new ways of thinking.
Maybe that's what is missing from our lives right now. This ......waiting...... for Christmas because all the focus is on us and presents for the kids. I am increasingly less satisfied with the "things" in my life. Next year I want to incorporate a little bit of what Jenny did with her family into our holiday. Perhaps we'll get a living tree. Perhaps we'll make our own ornaments, perhaps we do a collection for a something. But that's the direction I want to move towards - a celebration of life, gratitude, and connectedness with everything around us.